A Rancher’s Woman by E. Ayers

ARW ADHi, Cynthia, and waving a big hello to all your friends. I’m excited to announce that A Rancher’s Woman is on sale for 99c! This is the first time it’s ever been on sale.

E. I’m so glad you’re here. I wanted to tell my readers that I’ve read your book and it is one of my top ten. It’s an absolutely wonderful book I couldn’t put down. I give it my highest recommendation.

Set in 1896, this isn’t exactly a standard romance. Oh, it’s a romance, but it’s also filled with a wonderful historic story of life during the late 1800’s. A time when women did as their father told them, and life in the west was darn hard! Don’t look for the prairie or silk dresses in this novel! This is about reservation life, land that wasn’t exactly hospitable, fitting into a high society that existed in pockets of American cities, and the hatred of our Native Americans.

This book came about because I had written the story A Christmas Far From Home for Debra Holland’s Sweetwater Springs Christmas. That’s when I realized I had another story begging to be written. I tossed some other manuscripts out of the way and wrote this book. It’s the continuation from that story, except this is about Adie’s older sister, Malene, and a Crow Indian.

It’s also a time when the miscegenation laws meant whites were not permitted to marry anyone of color. American Indians were considered of color and any feeling Many Feathers and Malene had for each other could have had them hanged from the nearest tree. But hearts don’t see such differences.

This book has garnered all sorts of acclaim including being placed in a Native American Indian encyclopaedia. And instead of the normal romance readers, I’m discovering that men are loving this historical western! Plus a friend’s daughter texted me the other week to tell me that this book was on a recommended reading list created by her history professor. (I’ll admit I ran around on the ceiling for a few days after that!)

It’s written for adults but if your pre-teen reads it, you won’t have a thing to worry about – um, yes, you will. You are going to be faced with how to explain to them the stupidity of prejudice. It’s a different look at life back then and a love between two people.

I love the fact that I can flush a toilet, take a hot shower, toss dirty clothes into a washing machine, turn on the oven, and buy my milk in the grocery store! Yes, life is easier, and because of a computer, some phone lines, and a satellite, I can be here with all of you! J

ARW KindleCover 200x307 smEXCERPT from A RANCHER’S WOMAN

Many Feathers took his paper along with the forms to the office in Billings. Larger than any town he’d ever been in, he reined in his horse and took a few moments to look around. Most of the buildings contained signs and he was glad he’d learned to read. Slowly, he made his way up the street. He almost missed the land office, as it was tucked between two larger buildings.

He tethered his horse to the long wooden rail out front and stood at the door trying to decide if he should knock or walk in. He rapped once and opened the door. It took a moment for his eyes to adjust to the dim lighting in the small brick building.

There was a man sitting at a desk who looked terrified as he asked, “What do you want?”

“I have come to register my claim to property.”

The man’s grin looked more like a sneer. “Put your X on the paper and we’ll call you.”

“My X? Do you not want my name?” His gut tightened as he picked up the pen and dipped it in the inkwell. Very carefully he wrote Many Feathers.

“Have a seat.” The man pointed to two wooden chairs.

The office looked very official with maps on the walls and several tall cases with locked drawers. He had to sit in a chair and wait his turn. Doing nothing in a white man’s building was very strange to him. The air was damp and musty. He rubbed his nose with his forefinger.

Even though the door to the next room was closed, he could clearly hear every spoken word. With nothing else to do, Many Feathers listened to the conversation in the next room. The man in there took a long time, as he had many things to register, including a mining claim.

A man and woman walked into the tiny building. Their clothes were rumpled and dusty. They looked as though they’d traveled a long way to come to the office. The man signed the paper at the desk and then turned to Many Feathers. “Get up. Don’t you know your place?”

“My place?”

“When there are only two chairs and you are taking one of them…” The man glared at Many Feathers.

“I was told to sit. You want me to stand so you can sit?”

“Yes. Stupid savage,” the man grumbled.

He rolled his hands over facing his palms up and stood so that they could sit. Standing felt better anyway, as the wooden chair was not comfortable.

When the miner left, he spit on Many Feathers. Many Feathers inhaled and fisted his hands behind is back. He was more than aware that the white man held little respect for Indians, but he could not understand why. He had never done anything to deserve such treatment. Then the man behind the desk called the couple to register their claim.

“Am I not next?”

“No. They go first. You go when there is time to deal with you.”

Many Feathers turned his back to the skinny man behind the desk and found himself staring at a map of his land. It was as if it were drawn from the perspective of a great bird high in the sky. The reservation land was washed in red ink, but it was easy to see the two rivers, the mountains, and the lakes. Pride filled him, as he knew he was claiming a large chunk. He stood a little straighter and puffed out his chest.

He would wait if it took all day, for he was going to own his land. He was entitled to it. The agent had given him a copy of the law. The tribal council had agreed and placed their marks on the paper. The agent had signed that paper, too.

Four more people came into the office and each one went ahead of him. Finally, as the day was ending, his name was called. He took his papers into an even smaller room with a desk.

A man with gray hair and glasses said, “Have a seat. What are you doing here?”

Many Feathers sat in one of two wooden seats on his side of the desk and gazed at all the papers stacked in front of the spectacled man. “I have marked my land, and I wish to file my claim, but my form is not filled out completely as I do not understand some of what you want.”

The man held out his hand and Many Feathers handed him the papers.

“This is a very large portion of land. Are you certain it is properly marked?”

“Yes, sir. I was taught how to mark land. Each length of chain is clearly marked.”

“But according to this, you’ve not fenced it.”

“No, sir. It is reservation land. I am not a homesteader. I only had to mark and have approval of the tribe.”

The man sighed. “Who filled out this form?”

Many Feathers flexed his fingers. “I did. Did I do something wrong?”

“You know how to write?”

“Yes, sir. Mrs. Coleman taught me to read and write. But I often must look up the words in a dictionary. This was too many words.”

The man chuckled. “Well, I never had a red man come to my office with a claim, nor have I ever known a red man who could read and write. Let’s finish this form. For starters, you need to enter your full name. I need that. What’s your full name?”

“Many Feathers.”

The man shook his head. “Do you not have an English name?”

“English? It is Many Feathers.”

The man took a paper from within a drawer in his desk. “What was your father’s name?”

Many Feathers swallowed as he translated the name of his father and settled on Hunter. “Hunter. His last name was Hunter.”

The man wrote Hunter. “Now you need a first name. Many Feathers will not work. It needs to be an English name. You have marked much land. What do you intend to do with it?”

“I will build a house, grow vegetables and grain, and will raise cattle. I will be the first rancher on our reservation.”

The man nodded and transferred the information to a larger map. “As many marks as you have made. I will give you the name of Mark. From now on you will be Mark Hunter. You will no longer sign things as Many Feathers. Your agent should have given you an English name. I will fill those forms out for you. From which tribe are you?”


“You are a Crow.”

“Yes, sir.” Many Feathers watched what the man was doing. Several times forms were passed, and with effort, Many Feathers signed Mark Hunter. In asking for this claim, it had cost him his name, but he had a new one to go with his new life as a rancher. Eagle Feathers attempt to shame had created a new path to autonomy.

Many Feathers left the office with his deed and his new name. He counted several coins and decided he’d buy some food. The bakery was closing as he approached, but he asked anyway.

An older woman, with her hair tied into a knot, slipped several cookies and loaf of bread into a bag. “Here. Now go away!”

“What do I owe you?”

“Nothing. Go!” She pointed to the door.

Money still confused him so he put some change on the counter and left. These people treated him as if he were a wolf that was about to devour them. He had planned to stay in town, but decided it was best if he didn’t. He rode until he spotted a stockyard and then what he thought might be the Reiner house by Malene’s description. If he could sleep in their barn, he’d be grateful. The sun was setting as he knocked on the door.

Here is the link to get your copy for only 99 cents.



6 thoughts on “A Rancher’s Woman by E. Ayers

  1. I really appreciate your kind words about my book. I loved writing this story, and I’ll admit that Many Feathers is one of my favorite heroes.

    Someone I know recently bought it and A Rancher’s Dream, and asked me to sign them. I laughed and asked if he was going to read them. He promised that he would. He called me the other evening and told me he started to read, figuring he’d read a few pages before bed, except he never quit reading. He complained that I never gave him a chance to put the book up for the night. He wanted to know if A Rancher’s Dream was the same way. I told him to pick a rainy day when he didn’t have to mow the lawn and start reading early.


  2. congrats on this work that definitely feels like it comes from your heart! And it’s always so nice to have ringing endorsements from your peers like this one from Cynthia! Here is to many sales!

  3. Those characters can be so demanding. “Write my story now!”
    I so enjoyed A Rancher’s Woman, I’m looking forward to your next. My TBR stack is on winter standby. 🙂
    Best luck with your great sale.

    • Thanks so much, Rose, for stopping by and for your kind words about A Rancher’s Woman.

      Mark struggled to achieve success and he didn’t always win, but he kept trying. That daily struggle to overcome the odds is something with which everyone can identify. And as women, we understand Malene’s journey to become a confident adult and control her own destiny.

      I’ll add to your TBR pile probably around February. 🙂

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